Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Donna Suter - Community Champion and self-supporting mother part of Maryborough’s History

Donna Suter has just been awarded the Community Champion Award by the Fraser Coast Regional Council.

Madonna  Elizabeth Suter was born on the 4th May 1931, the eldest child of Frederick Leo and Mavis Lillian Barbeler (nee Weinheimer).   Timothy, Veronica (deceased), Thomas (deceased) & Joseph made up this very close knit family.

“I was educated at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Maryborough and on leaving school, having obtained my Junior Certificate; I was employed in the Forestry Department until her marriage to Kenneth Suter on the 19th June 1954.  At that time the policy of the Queensland Public Service was that a woman could not remain in the Public Service after marriage.”explained Donna. “I then took up employment at the Maryborough Dairy Company until 1957.  Ken and I adopted two children, a son in 1957 and a daughter Jennifer in 1959.  Unfortunately Ken passed away on the 19th September 1961 from Leukaemia,” she reflects.

“In 1969 following pension eligibility changes I decided to seek full time employment.  A position came up at which I felt would be suitable in view of my previous work but on being asked her age and admitting to 38 the interviewing gent said “Oh, you are over the hill”.  Needless to say I gave up the idea of working for that company. At that time Gilbert Alison offered me employment in his accountancy firm where I stayed for the next 20 years, working in his accountancy practice and then I transferred to employment as his Parliamentary Secretary during his terms in State Parliament,” she clarifies.  Donna was the first official Electorate Secretary in the Maryborough State Electorate.  The Maryborough Electorate office was chosen as the Country office when the decision was made to trial computers in the State Members offices and this was a great IT learning experience.

In 1990 Donna accepted a position as Secretary of St. Mary’s Catholic Parish and was very active in her involvement in Parish activities. “I became very active in community affairs firstly as Treasurer of the Maryborough & District Committee on the Ageing Inc., a position I held for 44 years and then accepted nomination as Secretary of that organisation, a position I still hold.”

“I have received the 1992 Australia Day Citizen Award from the Maryborough City Council” she claims.

Other community activities included;

  • Treasurer of Granville Hockey Club –  Awarded Life Membership in 1984
  • Organised the St. Mary’s Catholic Debutante Ball for approx 15 years
  • Secretary of the Bicentennial Committee in 1988
  • Secretary of the Queensland Eisteddfod in 1992
  • Assists annually at the local Maryborough Eisteddfod
  • Member of the Maryborough Senior Citizens Club

She was instrumental in U3A Maryborough Inc. being auspiced by the Maryborough & District Committee on the Ageing in the mid 1980’s and she is very proud of the success of this organisation.

“I enjoy my involvement in the community and intend to keep this up as long as possible as I consider it is the only way to keep the grey matter working.”

We are very grateful for her work in our community.

Tags #madcota #Frasercoastlibraries #localhistory #volunteer

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